Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach has earmarked funding worth over £100,000 to increase support for victims and survivors of domestic abuse throughout Covid-19.
Demand for Leicestershire’s domestic abuse help and support services is likely to increase during the current lockdown as victims are forced to spend more time alone with their abusers in isolation.
“It’s my duty to protect all vulnerable people within our community and I’m determined to ensure victims and survivors of domestic abuse get access to all the help and support they need to protect their safety in this crisis,” said the PCC.
“My team and I are doing everything possible to cope with the additional pressure on these services. These emergency funds which amount to almost £104,000 will help our service providers come to the aid of those living in fear from a partner and take necessary action to protect them.”
The concern is this will increase tensions due to closer living proximity, increased stress as a result of financial and job worries, reduced mental health and increase the ability for perpetrators to exert control and isolate their victims.
The PCC is investing in additional accommodation for victims of domestic abuse and diverting funds from other projects into support services which help vulnerable people cope with the increased fear and anxiety they face during the lockdown period.
He has set aside £15,000 for Women’s Aid Leicestershire Ltd (WALL) to provide emergency B&B accommodation as additional short-term refuge provision and a further £58,000 to the service to deliver eight spaces in longer-term refuge accommodation.
The PCC continues to work with providers and partners to assess the current pressures and ensure support is in place long-term, and is prepared to provide extra funding if it proves necessary.
“I want to send out a clear message to anyone feeling vulnerable or fearful of abuse and violence during these unprecedented times that we are ready to help if you need it – you are not alone,” said Willy Bach.
“The safety of vulnerable victims and their children is paramount to me and I’m doing everything I can to make sure the services you need are available right now. You do not need to wait until lockdown is over.
“I would urge proprietors of Bed & Breakfast accommodation to consider joining us to offer support at this time, which we are funding.
“The providers I fund are working around the clock and finding new ways to help amid the social distancing restrictions. Others are diverting their resources to help those impacted by violence. If you need help, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. If you believe a neighbour or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, take action and raise your concerns.”
Those wishing to offer Bed & Breakfast accommodation are asked to contact WALL on firstname.lastname@example.org